Crime problems, solutions discussed at Oakland public forum

March 9, 2013 5:40:07 PM PST
A public forum on safety was held in Oakland Saturday, giving a community struggling with crime an opportunity have its voice heard.

Scheduled to last three hours, the forum lasted for more than four. City leaders and Oakland's top law enforcement officer stayed from beginning to end, listening and taking notes.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, Police Chief Howard Jordan, various city leaders, and about 175 residents spent their Saturday discussing public safety and ways to address crime throughout Oakland.

"The community is the first order of safety," resident Aeesha Clottey said.

Unlike community forums in the past, Saturday's workshop series encouraged Oaklanders to not only "sound off," but to also offer problem solving solutions.

"If the community is informed, if the community is working together, if the police is part of the community, then we can have safe communities," Clottey said.

Another resident added "We can't be a city that focuses only on murders."

The Strategic Policy Partnership, the consulting team led by Bob Wasserman and Bill Bratton, is working to reduce violent crime in Oakland. Bob Stewart is part of that team. He discussed the success of programs like "cease fire" and the need for continued community funds to support it.

Resident Talia Taylor says the ideas highlighted at the forum are a start, but she continues to have concerns about their practices; specifically, "stop and frisk."

"The stop and frisk polices that were implemented in New York, I know that it reduced the level of gun violence, however it also heightened the tension," Taylor said.

The issue of stop and frisk is a community concern, but it's also an issue that Chief Jordan has addressed in the past. He's told me directly that he and his officers will not engage in racial profiling of any kind including, but not limited, to stop and frisk.

This was just one community meeting this month. There will be another town hall before the end of March.


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